A year after the MOT lockdown extension be sure to double check if yours is due
Its been a year since MOTs due between 30th March 2020 and 31st July 2020 were given a 6 month extension due to the Covid pandemic. The automatic 6 months extension was put in place to help limit the need to leave your home.
With everything else the last year has thrown at us, forgetting your MOT date can be very easily done however, due to the extension, there could cars on the roads with extremely lapsed MOTs. Be sure double check yours and booking in asap if due. Other than hefty fines and breaches to your insurance policy you could be driving an unsafe, un-road worthy car. Checking is easy by visiting the gov website and entering your reg or we’d be happy to check for you here in the office.
If you have any questions about when your MOT is due or would like to book in, call our office, send us an email or leave a comment below.
We hope you enjoy reading our blog and find it as a source of advice, hints and tips and more importantly an insight to behind the scenes of our garage. Being open and honest with our customers is very important to us and we feel that the more you know about car care and maintenance the better for every car that comes to us. That being said, there is always room for improvement, so is there anything you’d like to see more or less of on the blog? Do you have any car related questions that we could turn into a post? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, just leave them in the comments below or send us an email.
Thanks to all our readers and customers who have taken the time to read our blog over the past year.
With the wet and snowy driving conditions lately, our window wipers have probably been working over time (that’s when we are actually in our cars at the moment). Its really easy to just run out the car without turning them off and leaving where ever they happen to be on the window. Doing so helps to ensure they don’t freeze to the window screen. If this happens, the motor will try and move them which in turn can damage the blades fuses and the motor itself. So be sure to take a few seconds to turn off your wipers and see that they are in the start position.
With most car owners working from home or home-schooling at the moment, their car is most probably sitting on the drive the most of the time just now. This is great for saving on fuel costs and environmental factors, however an unused car can cause have some issues when you return to more regular driving.
Here are a few tips to help maintain your car during lockdown and in a safe condition to dive in case of emergencies.
Start your car at least once a week and let it run for 10 – 15 mins. This will help keep your battery charged. (Turning the air con on while you do this will help keep air flowing freely.)
Keep an eye on tyres going flat; sitting too long in the same position can affect your tyres. If you notice a slow puncture, pump your tyres back to the manufacture’s recommended PSI. (More on this on a previous post here.)
Beware of rust! Brakes, valves and cylinders can all become rusty without use which will effect their effectiveness . A quick once around the block every week will help keep parts freed off of rust. Listen out for any knocks, bangs, squeaks or changes in performance. If you hear anything or notice any changes, they could be an indicator that your car may need further TLC from a professional, before it escalates into a bigger, more serious problem for your car.
Unlike lockdown 1, there are no MOT extensions, so if yours is due in the coming weeks or months you will still be required by law to have this carried out. Doing so will help keep you safe and legal in your car, and also means that when restrictions are lifted again your car will be ready. If you are driving without an MOT you could face some hefty fines and more worryingly driving an unsafe car.
If you have any questions or concerns about your car during lockdown, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can get you booked in for a Free Vehicle Health Check.
This time of year with all the salt and muck on the road, you’ve probably already noticed your windscreen is getting dirtier quicker. Therefore it’s more important than normal to ensure your screen wash levels and dilution are at optimum levels for your make and model of car.
Ensuring this will allow you to clean your windscreen more regularly and with better effect, keeping a clear view of the road ahead. Screen wash and other levels are advised to be checked weekly, but at this time of year with more use, we advise checking/ topping up every couple of days. We also advise keeping a bottle of water in your car in case of emergencies. You’ll find the screen wash by popping your bonnet and looking for a cap with a symbol that looks like the image below. You can also double check in your owners manual which will show you exactly where it’s located.
Normal dilution of screen wash is approximately 50/50 between the screen wash soliton in the bottle and normal water, although with colder months ahead, we recommend a stronger mix of approximately 75/25 screen wash to water. This can help prevention of the screen wash freezing in the bottle, pipes and jets. We strongly discourage the use of boiling water on cold mornings when the windscreen is frozen as the extreme change in temperature can cause the glass to crack.
If you have any questions or concerns about using screen wash or topping up your levels, then just leave a comment below or call us in the office.
#tipthursday from Maitland Motors this week is check your oil levels regularly. Your car runs smoothly and effectively thanks to serval different fluids which ensure correct lubrication of eternal parts, the most important being your oil. Oil levels being too low or over-filled can cause issues for your car, and in worst case scenarios, result in costly and timely repairs.
You can check your oil level by popping the botnet and looking for this sign. (It looks like a oil can.)
If you’re still unsure, your owners manual will advise of where to look exactly, how much oil is optimal and the preferred oil. To use the dipstick, wipe it with an old cloth first then replace before checking it to see where your oil levels are sitting. You will see a minimum and maximum line; your levels should be near the maximum. If its low or below the minimum, top it up accordingly asap. A low reading could also indicate a leak or your car is burning oil. Keep an eye on this and if you find you are going through oil quickly, book your car in with a technician for a check.
We check all levels as part of our Free Vehicle Health Check if you’re unsure how to do it yourself. Any questions or would like to book in with Maitland Motors, just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to asap.
The clocks changing means we’ll be driving a lot more in the dark, along with winter weather on the way, now is a good time to give your car a check over. We’ve put together a few easy checks you can do at home to help make sure your car is safe and ready for adverse driving conditions.
Lights Ask someone to check that all your lights are working as you turn each one on and off including your indicators, headlights and brake lights. Replacing bulbs is quick and cheap but essential in keeping you and other drivers safe. We have a #tipthursday with more details.
Brakes Check your brake fluid levels. If it’s low, top it up asap as this will affect the efficiency and safety of your brakes. Also, check your car’s manual to see when/if a brake fluid change is due. Visually inspect your brake discs. If there is a lot of corrosion, this can be a sign its time to replace them. We do advise as good general car maintenance to replace your discs & pads every 2 years. Any noises, judders, or sudden changes while driving may mean your brakes are needing to be checked over and there could be an issue with them.
Tyres Give your tyres a good look over and inspect for any cracks, tears, bulges and wear. Ensure the tyre pressure is correct for your car, we have more on this here. Tyres that are in poor condition can affect your handling of the car, stopping distance and can make your car unsafe to drive.
Wipers & Windows Checking your wipers and windows is easy. (You can find out more here.) Check your windows for any cracks and chips, as these can impact the safety of the glass. You can also check your wipers yourself by lifting them away from the window, inspecting them for any cracks, tears or nicks in the rubber.
If you have checked anything on your car and are concerned about it, then we can investigate further with our Free Vehicle Health Check. From there, we can advise of any repairs or parts needed to ensure your car is winter-ready and safe. We always say prevention is better than cure, so nipping issues in the bud as soon as you can will also help save time and money. Leave a comment below or call the office for more details.
This is a really easy one all of us can do in just a few minuets every few weeks. Check your windows and wipers regularly, especially your front and rear windows looking for any cracks or chips. If you do find anything, most insurance companies will replace your windscreens as part of your policy, so be sure to give them a ring. We’ve all seen the adverts, a damaged windscreen can be fatal.
You can also check your wipers easily yourself by lifting them away from the window, inspecting them for any cracks, tears or nicks in the rubber. Any damage will stop them from working as well as they should and will make diving in poor weather conditions more difficult. If you do spot any damage, you can go ahead and replace them yourself, though it can be a bit fiddly.
These are really easy checks you can do at home, especially as we approach the winter months, but any questions regarding your windows or wipers leave us a comment below or call the office.